Note To White Obama Supporters: Don’t Overdo It

Posted: November 10, 2008 in Politics

My wife and another family member has already shared with me several stories of giddy White folks congratulating them for Obama win—without taking the time to ask them if they even voted for the man.

Some blacks in Hawaii downplay Obama’s race

By Susan Essoyan

Elmore Anderson always gets a friendly greeting when he visits his favorite “poke” shop in Mililani, but the day after the election, even customers he didn’t know embraced him.

“That day, I walked in, and all the customers that were in there came up and said, ‘Wow, we got a black president!'” said Anderson, who is black, too. “They were shaking my hand, everybody’s shaking my hand, giving me hugs.”

Anderson enjoyed the acclaim and kept the laughter going with his tongue-in-cheek rejoinder: “Never mind shaking my hand, why not buy me a beer?”

The scene in the poke shop has cropped up at other stores, bus stops, and meeting places across the state in the several days since Sen. Barack Obama became president-elect. Only 3 percent of the state’s population is black, and some enthusiastic voters just couldn’t contain themselves when they crossed paths.

It has been such an issue that at one local post office, a black clerk displayed a sign at her window saying “Sorry. No politics. My vote is private.”


But some local residents said they were taken aback to be singled out on the basis of their color, however well intentioned, after the election.

“I was buying bread at the store and a gentleman came up to me and slapped me on the shoulder and said it was a great day,” said Theo Jones, a television news producer. “I felt like saying, ‘Yes, it’s Wednesday!’ But instead I said, ‘Yes sir, it is.'”

“I knew he meant well,” Jones said. “But to me it was condescending. It’s almost like when you’re stereotyped for the wrong reasons. It might be better intentioned, but it’s the same thing. I guess when you get 96 percent of the black vote, that’s going to be everybody’s assumption, that everyone’s on board.”

Chris Waiters, 25, had a similar experience, and said he was surprised because to him the presidential race was about “who’s going to help the country most, not who’s white or who’s black.”

“I was on the bus and a group randomly comes up and says, ‘Hey, Obama’s president! Finally a black man is in the White House,'” said Waiters, who works in health insurance. “It was kind of weird because I didn’t know these people.”

“I just went along with it. They assumed I voted for him because I’m black. It’s like a random question that keeps coming up. Whatever I did in the voting booth is my deal.”

Stuart Dennis of Pearl City, a lifelong Hawaii resident who is black, said he is slightly troubled by the hoopla over electing a black president.

“It’s kind of sad to me, honestly, the reaction,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a surprise. It should be no big deal. I’m in athletics so, to me, the best team wins. It’s not a question of what race the team was.” (more…)

  1. Terra says:

    I agree with you, it is a historic moment, but lets not loose sight of the issues.

  2. lortzblog says:

    i agree with stuart dennis. it shouldn’t be a big deal.

    and next time, it won’t be.

  3. Give it a rest says:

    In all honesty it is a big deal!

    When you speak to people from outside of the USA no matter what race or color they may be they all acknowledge the fact that a member of a minority group has managed to be elected to the #1 leadership postion in a wealthy, powerful country is a very major accomplishment for members of minority groups world wide. Notice that this has not happened in any other “1st world” country YET.
    I can remember Fujimoro becoming president in Peru in the 1990s, other that him I can not identify a single instance were a member of an ethnic group that only makes up about 18% -20% of the population has gained a plurality in a NATIONAL election.
    The world is a much bigger place than the USA. There are many people who live in places where racism is not so open, they will never be called a nigger or any other derogatory term to their face but they also know that that majority race in their country would never open up the power structure to them in the way in the same way that allowed Obama to win here in the USA.
    Listen to what some of these folks have to say, we just might learn a lot about ourselves and see how we view the world IS jaded by our experience here in the USA.

    It is a shame that far too many black folks in the USA are too WILLFULLY ignorant to understand and accept the significance of this moment in WORLD history.
    The irony is that most people black or white in the USA truly ARE surprised by this event. Two years ago if you were to ask ANYONE in the USA if the next president would be black or a member of any race other than white they would have told you “they seriously doubt it”.

    LOL, to hear folks after the fact talk about how this was a given, that was bound to happen! I guess that is why my name is “give it a rest” because that is what many need to do and just accept the fact that they are surprised and somwhat shocked that a blackman is going to be the next president.

    It is time for blacks to stop being so afraid of being Black! Yes there is a chance that Obama might not be a very good president. But give the guy a chance, he is the one putting his head in the chopping block. Let any pain or shame be his own and not yours because you happen to share the same skin color with him.

  4. Zack says:

    This is something out of a comedy sketch! Some of the guys should have said, “Thanks, but I’m a felon”.

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